10 Ways to Beat Loneliness
That feeling when you just want to crawl under a blanket and hide from everything... When you don’t have someone to snuggle with and your body pillow just isn’t cutting it... Saturday nights and no one to connect with, again... These are some of my weak moments, when that horrible “I’m so alone” feeling creeps in and takes over. And here are ten ways I hope to beat it:
Have something to look forward to. If Saturday nights are an issue for you, like they are for me, then plan something for Saturday night that’s at least two hours long so you know you’re covered. Even if it’s just watching the last two episodes of Poldark. With ice cream. And a new knitting project. Maybe a glass of wine. If you keep it open and find yourself with nothing to do, you risk setting yourself up for disappointment.
Forget about the "relocation cure." This is the myth that claims if you put yourself out there and are around people it will make you less lonely. It doesn’t work. You’re still of the same mindset whether you’re at home or in a crowd. There’s no “magic of transit” that makes the feeling go away. You have to do the work.
Make more direct connections. It’s the little things like saying “Hi, how are you? How was your weekend?” that add up in the end. (And not the number of Facebook friends or Instagram followers you have. Technology is a not a direct connection.) I’m not much for small talk but if I’d ever learn to stop blurting things out about myself and ask more questions of the other person, I might just make a new friend.
And then make deeper connections. From Stop Being Lonely, Asatryan says to create closeness by using these two specific actions: Knowing and Caring. “Knowing is seeing people’s lives from their perspective. Caring means feeling and showing their well being matters to you.” Creating closeness is at the crux of the loneliness feeling. I without a doubt missed this lesson when I was a kid. I was raised in an authoritarian household and it was more about survival. I had to be pretty crafty which created some bad habits. But those are going to change.
Stop looking for love. “Love is a mystery; closeness is not,” according to Kira Asatryan in Stop Being Lonely. She points out that love is great but you should think of it as a bonus, not as something you search for. You can’t control it, it just happens. I guess I can’t remind myself of that enough!
Remember self love. Can you ever forgive yourself enough?! And what about self doubt? Ugh. When bad thoughts creep in, honor them and then, kick them out. The voice in your head that’s bringing you down is a total loser. Separate yourself from your thoughts and always remember that it’s just a thought. You don’t have to act on it. It’s probably not even originally yours!
Yes, of course, exercise, eat right, and meditate. You have to to stay sane. Really. If you’re not already regularly doing it then stop everything and start now. Your body is the only thing you can control.
List what you’re grateful for. As Tony Robbins said, “Trade your expectations for appreciation. The moment you do, your whole world transforms.” It’s true! Gratitude switches your brain to happy automatically. Happy thoughts, happy times, happy conversation. Say it out loud, write it down, post it on social media. Share the love!
Write about a memory of being lonely. Putting it out there, even it it’s just for you to see, is cathartic. Once you can separate from the memory it’s easier to move forward and get out of the loneliness funk. When I wrote down mine, which I’ve had in my head forever, it felt as if I emptied a part of my brain and cleared up space for something new. I didn’t have to carry it around anymore. A cause for celebration!
Face your fears. Here’s mine: I’m going to die alone, penniless and surrounded by cats. I don’t know where the cats came from since I’m allergic to them and don’t have any, but that’s the image in my mind. As for dying alone, it’s a possibility no matter what my situation. Whatever. I can’t control that. And the penniless thing, that’s a real fear. Saving has not been one of my strengths. While it helps to know I’m not alone with this frightening scenario, it doesn’t solve it. I’m on it. For the rest of my life!